Police and Fire Collaboration Committee agree to joint review for collaboration between Merseyside Police & Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service
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Video of the Police and Fire Collaboration Committee (Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority) meeting held on the 1st of September 2015.
The Police and Fire Collaboration Committee met for the first time on the 1st of September 2015. Papers for the meeting are on Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority’s website.
The first meeting of the Police and Fire Collaboration Committee elected Councillor Dave Hanratty as Chair.
The other members of the Police and Fire Collaboration Committee are:
Councillor Leslie Byron (Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority)
Jane Kennedy (Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside)
Sue Murphy (Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside)
The Police and Fire Collaboration Committee agreed the terms of reference.
Most of the rest of the meeting was discussion of the Fire and Police Collaboration Programme. There was a 5 page covering report and 8 page appendix detailing the “Collaboration/Shared Services Guiding Principles between Merseyside Police and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service“.
Chief Fire Officer Dan Stephens presented the report, as did Sir Jon Murphy (Chief Constable, Merseyside Police). Chief Fire Officer Dan Stephens drew the Committee’s attention to the list of possible areas for shared services in the report at part 6. The areas detailed in the report are:
- Human Resources
- Occupational Health
- Vehicle Fleet Management
- Press Office
- Communication and Marketing
- Performance/Corporate Development
- Legal Services
He gave an example of shared working in the shared estates area as the Joint Control Centre in the building where the public meeting was being held. Dan Stephens highlighted the staffing implications in the report (section 16-17 on page 10). He stated, “Just to reassure members of the Committee that a Communications Strategy is being developed to ensure that all of our staff can be fully informed. As you can appreciate there will be a fair degree of interest in the work as it progresses.” Dan Stephens also referred to the legal implications, financial implications and other implications in sections 18-24 in the report.
Chief Constable Sir John Murphy added, “Everything that the Chief has just laid out there has been drawn up in complete collaboration with ourselves”.
Jane Kennedy, Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside said “That’s a good and comprehensive list of potential quick gains. For knowing what I know of the potential cliff edge that the Force is facing in terms of its funding and the particular threat in particular to community policing, for me B Ways of Working is absolutely crucial to the future benefit to the community of our two services working together. I can’t, my waking nightmare is the loss of what we currently know of as community style policing.
If we lose community policing altogether then there would still be neighbourhood policing, but we are, we are very close to that now. There is potential gain from us working very closely together with your people and the Force’s people on the ground in communities which I think is probably the greatest benefit.”
Councillor Hanratty (Chair) said that they needed to have conversations with the North West Ambulance Service to see “how they could work better together with them”. He suggested inviting the Chief Executive and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the North West Ambulance Service to a future meeting. Cllr Hanratty suggested that when they got to the last agenda item adjourning the meeting.
Jane Kennedy agreed with Councillor Hanratty but that it had taken her six months to get a meeting with North West Ambulance Service but, “I completely agree with what you’re saying David”.
Cllr Hanratty referred to both Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service and Merseyside Police’s independence. He commented that both organisations do “fantastic work”.
Chief Constable Sir John Murphy said, “Just to endorse what the Commissioner’s said there, the great strength of what we’re embarking on here is the MFRS [Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service] and Merseyside Police are under the same pressures, we share the same footprint and there’s a real joint will amongst the Chief Officer Teams and the people in this room to get things done.
Our experience with working with North West Ambulance and the North West is a problem to start with is that it’s not quite that straightforward and the experience of the JCC [Joint Control Centre] here and they’re in, they’re out, they’re in, they’re out, I would not like to see North West Ambulance Service get in the way of what we’re trying to achieve, but the principle of what you’re suggesting and the commenced approach towards that I agree.”
Councillor Leslie Byrom added, “I mean I agree with everything that’s been said, what we’re going to have in the next few months of business other than the budget stuff which is going to have a real major impact on how we’re going to plan for the future. This is the first step.
We’be got the overlay also that’s emerging of the Police Reform and Criminal Justice draft Bill. That mentions fire and police collaboration. It may mean that it’s more intended to affect non-metropolitan areas, there may be a separate solution anticipated for metropolitan areas but there is so much happening I think we are going to have to be fleet of foot for the next few months, adjourning this meeting is absolutely right.
Err, enabling us to call a meeting at you know legally short notice, errm and deal with changes that are being presented to us as they happen because you know we are on a bit of a roller coaster.
NWAS [North West Ambulance Service], obviously that’s another part, that’s another facet, another side of the entire blue light issue isn’t it? And I don’t think you know, I know we have difficulty sitting round and meeting with them, but actually I think we can’t leave that as an excuse can we?
We have to, they can not participate yes, but we have to be making the, giving leadership on this issue and showing that you know there is that overlay of blue light and the cross issues. Both the money and the way that they operate are quite different to us, I understand that, but we’re all in the area of public expenditure at this time.
So you know we just try our best with NWAS [North West Ambulance Service] to move things forward.”
The Chair thanked the officers for their work and referred to it as “a culture change for both of our organisations and the way they’ve worked together so far has been tremendous as well”
The recommendations contained within the report were agreed which are:
a. Approve the draft Guiding Principles for the Collaboration Programme attached at Appendix A
b. Instruct the Chief Fire Officer (CFO) and Chief Constable (CC) to undertake a joint review of existing and potential opportunities for collaboration in line with the methodology detailed within the Guiding Principles.”
The Chair then agreed to adjourn the meeting, so that they could “call the meeting as and when required” but that the next meeting should be within the next couple of months.
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